Chile - Argentina [P + R]


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SANTIAGO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Argentina's 4-2 win over Uruguay has left coach Jose Pekerman spoiled for choice as he ponders the team to face Chile in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier.

His counterpart Juvenal Olmos, however, has no such luxury as he tries to conjure up a side from a squad that has been disrupted by injuries, suspensions and his own decision to ban playmaker David Pizarro for indiscipline.

Forward Carlos Tevez and midfielders Javier Mascherano and Andres D'Alessandro are all available again for Argentina after missing Saturday's game, Pekerman's first in charge, through suspension.

However, Argentina's excellent performance means none of them are guaranteed to regain their places.

Luciano Figueroa, who started because of Tevez's suspension and a late injury to Hernan Crespo, scored twice while Juan Roman Riquelme, who took D'Alessandro's place, was rated Argentina's outstanding player.

Esteban Cambiasso also had a good game after stepping in for Mascherano.

Pekerman has not announced his team but the Clarin newspaper speculated that Mascherano - already an established international at the age of 20 - will replace Luis Gonzalez while Tevez will win his place back from Figueroa.

Whoever plays, Argentina, second in the 10-nation South American group with 18 points from nine games, are hoping to repeat the flowing football which put them 3-0 up in only 45 minutes against Uruguay.

'If we play like we did in the first half against Uruguay, everyone will be happy,' said Riquelme. 'Football's a game and we all want to enjoy ourselves.

'Saturday was important because the public went home happy.'


Chile are missing midfielder Mark Gonzalez, defender Moises Villaroel and striker Mauricio Pinilla through injury, while their other problems are of their own making.

Defensive midfielder Claudio Maldonado and left back Rodrigo Perez are serving the second game of bans they received for being sent off in the 0-0 draw against Colombia.

Pizarro, who plays for Udinese in Italy, has been left out for throwing a tantrum after being substituted in that game. He kicked an advertising board, stormed down the tunnel and then criticised Olmos in an interview after the game.

Chile, who have 12 points, dropped to fifth place after Sunday's 2-0 defeat in Ecuador and their campaign is in danger of grinding to a halt after a promising start.

They have failed to win in their last three qualifiers and have not scored in their last two. More worryingly, they have won only one out of four home games so far.

History is also against them as they have never beaten Argentina in seven previous meetings in World Cup qualifiers.

'It's not been easy to put together the team,' said Olmos. 'Our football is not so generous in terms of players.... For us, it's vital not to lose any more points at home.'

Probable teams:

Chile - Nelson Tapia; Ricardo Rojas, Luis Fuentes, Rafael Olarra, Pablo Contreras; Fernando Martel, Juan Luis Gonzalez, Rodrigo Melendez, Rodrigo Valenzuela; Marcelo Salas, Patricio Galaz

Argentina - Roberto Abbondanzieri; Fabricio Coloccini, Walter Samuel, Gabriel Heinze; Javier Zanetti, Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso, Juan Roman Riquelme, Juan Pablo Sorin; Javier Saviola, Carlos Tevez

Referee: Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay)



3-1 to Argentina.